Sunday, August 31, 2008

Photo Saturday in the Slow Food Nation

(underwhelming) festival food.
No plastic bottles! Brills.
Off to the Taste Pavilions...

Cocktail umbrella ceiling!

Cheese line.

Chocolate line.

Wine line.

Pizza line part 1.

Pizza line part 2.

Pizza line part 3.

Short line here!

Wild, wild rice.

Teepee time.

Time to find food -- Pavilion scraps were tasty but few.

First: art party at Silverman on Sutter.

Luck! Tiny bites by private chef Keiko Takano. (That's her above with the a-mazing hair.)

Now *that's* a taste pavilion.

Roman-style artichoke; Happy Boy melon, mint + Israeli feta; potato-paprika torte; snap pea pod piped with ricotta-pea puree.


Bourbon and Branch: Aperol delight.

The final solution.

Night night!

photos: TB

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Slow Food Pics: Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market

Would Ferry Plaza be insane on on Slow Food Saturday?

I took a look at prime farmer's market brunch time, 11:30am. Not too crazy out front.
Good, Happy Quail still has pimientos de padron. Love those suckers whole in the hot skillet with olive oil and salt (and *sometimes* there's a super hot one).
Round back, things were a bit more bananas.
Huge lines at Primavera.
Those Primavera chilaquiles look d*mn good. I have a thing for chilaquiles. Been that way ever since my friends Diego, Bill and Tony took me to Tacos Delta in Silverlake, LA.
I opted for an irresistible extra smoky red lox sandwich from Captain Mike's. With Eatwell lavender salt. OMG.
And I picked up some West Coast butter beans to give them a try. Marrow Fat shell beans; the farm name escapes me! I was high on lox and lavender salt.
Cranberry beans and Italian butter beans at Iacopi Farms. Pretty.
Off to Slow Food Rocks! Life in a sunny San Francisco is real, real rough.
photos: TB

Sushi Bistro to Bring the Fish to the Mish

Sushi Bistro's upcoming new loc at 24th and York is coming along!

I'm pretty excited that a sushi shop is opening in my hood.

Butterfish Blasters? Totes. Bistro Brownie? Yes, please.

I love fish purist sushi, but I love a good gimmick, too.

(Like the Dinosaur Foot at Fuji Sushi in West Portal -- it's a Disneyland version of the legendary spicy tuna with crispy rice and jalapeno at Katsu-Ya in Studio City.)

Granted, I've never dined at Sushi Bistro's Balboa location, so this is all just wishful thinking.

The carpenters inside said it might open in a few months, but other reports note an early 2009 opening.

So I gave owner Dave Chien a call; he says that barring any unforeseen issues, they plan to open in November of 2008.

The chef, Sheen Zhou, will run both locations, and they plan to tighten up the menu by losing some of the combination dinners.

They'll be serving beer, wine, and sake, and here is some really good news for the neighborhood (which has been welcoming so far, according to Chien): they're looking to serve until 11 p.m., and possibly later on weekends.


That block of 24th is brightening up nicely. No Pasta Pomodoro or Starbucks, just locals like the St. Francis Fountain, Sugarlump Coffee, Pop's, the Roosevelt Tamale Parlor, and Dynamo Doughnuts a block away, all just doing their thing.


photos: TB

Friday, August 29, 2008

Slow Food Kickoff (and More Hero Worship) at Perbacco

Mary and I love to doll up and dine out.

Tonight we hit a Slow Dinner at Perbacco, one of the chic-est, most legit restos in town.

The event? A Slow Food Nation benefit for CUESA, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture.

We had the massive luck of sitting with not only Cathy Curtis (right), who programs the foodie events at the Commonwealth Club, but also culinary hero Joyce Goldstein (left), owner of the legendary restaurant Square One and author of six million cookbooks, including the recent all-things-salad tome, Mediterranean Fresh.

She's leading a few seminars and demos quite soon, including one this weekend at Fort Mason and another next Saturday 9.6.08 at Copia.

(The grainy photo doesn't even come close to doing justice to Chef Staffan Terje's beautiful pressed watermelon salad with Dirty Girl farm tomatoes, purple basil, toasted almonds and a giant wedge of roasted Bellwether ricotta.)

Joyce and Staffan are besssssst fwiends.

Sal-oooh-mi. That little ramekin of ciccioli there is a pot of pork heaven with a jaunty fruit mustard cap. Like that magically shreddy BBQ pork hash they make in South Carolina (read: everything but the squeal), but more roasty, refined, and served cold with toasts.

Pork magic. That dark, lovely Salame Nostrano kicks my teeth out with its cinnamony cloven hooves. Gimme more.

I thought the 2006 Firesteed Oregon pinot gris they were pouring was an Alsatian at first, it was so light and lovely and floral and true.

The 2004 pinot noir from the same Willamette Valley producer went quite perfectly with our Prather Ranch lamb, cooked two ways and served with roasted peach and arugula panzanella. (The panzanella was good, but not the sleeper hit I'd predicted. But it was no contest against that lamb leg and confit shoulder -- they were insane.)

Those Prather dudes really have a serious line on the tender meats.

(All of the Prather meat I've tried is like meat from Valhalla.)

(If Valhalla were constructed out of butter.)

Thanks, Slow Food Nation and Perbacco. I am one seriously privileged lass.

p.s. I am also *so* fired up about Barack Obama's nomination acceptance speech at the DNC in Denver tonight. You can watch it in its 45m entirety at the Huffington Post.

He's our star.

photos: TB

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hot August Nights: Out the Door and More

Keeping it Casual
Had a quick ladies' dinner at Charles Phan's Out the Door in the Westfield Center, as pre-game for the Campari urban sustainability chat at YBCA.

The Slanted Door offshoot reopened in July and appears to be running smoothly since a nasty water leak shut the place down in early June 2008.

Daikon rice cakes? Fab.
Fresh spring rolls? A little too spring-y (read: rubbery).
Caramelized prawns? Dark and lovely.
Baby bok choy? Bo-ring.
Manifesto SB by the glass? Yum.

The cellophane noodles with Dungeness crab are still delicious, if only the teensiest bit dry and less flavorful than what you get at the Ferry Building papa bear. Things must have shaped up since the Yelpers went ape.

That said, after many tasty meals at both the Slanted Door and Out the Door, I have yet to be blown away by the cooking.


We set off to the Campari open bar at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts -- and exhibited a fair amount of brand loyalty.


The Sustainable Systems 3 talk in the YBCA Forum was truly excellent, and the room was packed!

We got a great overview of the LEED platinum certified bells and whistles on the new California Academy of Sciences
from Arup's Shruti Narayan, the project manager on sustainable design strategies for the facility.

Fun fact: the 2.5 acre roof garden is planted with natives and will absorb approx. 2 million gallons of rainwater per year -- water that would otherwise run off into storm drains and tax water treatment facilities.

(Photo: The Architect's Newspaper)

We also got a recap of REBAR's green conceptual art projects from architect and designer John Bela, the guy behind the City Hall Victory Gardens. It was rad.

(photo: The Trust for Public Land, who has licensed PARK(ing) Day from REBAR, incidentally.)

Chez Panisse chef Jerome Waag then gave a rundown on Bay Area urban farms, and talked a bit about the upcoming OPEN Restaurant dinner at New Langton Arts on Sept. 13, for which all of the food will be sourced from urban gardens and farms -- even the chickens and the eggs.

For dinner reservations, contact New Langton Arts at 415.626.5416.

(photo of recent OPEN SOIL event: New Langton Arts)

YBCA's Mara Sohn: what an event coordinator.

After the talk, friends caught up over negronis and Campari and OJ...

and photographer Daniel Dent smiled for the camera.

Then SF Station writer Chrissy Loader and I headed off to yacht rock land, but not before showing off our summer-light dresses. Look ma, no winter coat!

The new Contemporary Jewish Museum on Mission, lookin good at night.

Smooth Sailing
The screening party at Rickshaw Stop for the hit web show Yacht Rock was packed as well, and the crowd of 200 was game for smooth sailing, belly laughing, and grooving to Christopher Cross in their captain's hats and sailor shirts.

I was a little bit camera-happily star-struck to meet show co-creator J.D. Ryznar, a.k.a. Michael McDonald...

...while my friends were happily drink-struck -- but only a tad.

After all, it was a school night.

KALX DJ Roscoe 2000 made the turntables sing with deep catalog smooth hits...

And Cocoon: The Movie: The Band (a Guitar Zeroes side project) effectively cleared the room with their half awful/half amazing stylings on modified Guitar Hero video game controllers.

I was undeterred; to be honest, I was in heaven watching Cocoon on the backdrop.

(I might have even gotten inspired to swing by the Mint afterwards for a rendition of Kenny Loggins' "This is It," but only the summer breeze knows for sure.)

Just another hot August night in San Francisco.

photos: TB